Egypts Underwater World – What’s a Diving Holiday like in the Makadi Bay
[reading time: approx. 6-7 mins.]
In the end of February this year (2020) we’ve made our first diving holiday in Egypt. Therefore we’ve chosen the Makadi Bay because of its beautiful house reef and the relatively short way from the Hurghada airport. We stayed one week in the LABRANDA Club Makadi Hotel and were diving with the Extra Divers Makadi.
In this blog post we’ll tell you about our experiences we’ve made there and our personal and honest opinion.
As already mentioned, we were diving with the Extra Divers Makadi. We think it’s pretty hard to find a good diving center, especially in touristic regions where literally one diving center is next to another.
Therefore we asked a friend of us about a recommendation in Egypt and she advised us the Extra Divers Makadi. For us it was important to have a house reef were we can go diving on our own and to not always have to go by boat, which this diving center was fulfilling.
In addition to the recommendation we’ve visited a diving exhibition and talked to some diving centers from whole Egypt.
Of course we also talked with the Extra Divers Makadi and they told us that they also have some protected dive sites for windy days. And that point totally convinced us, as Tami is prone to get seasick on the boat. In addition to that we’ve always been very happy with the Extra Divers on Malta and we thought they'll have similar standards there.
So all in all, the decision was nevertheless not that easy for us because Egypt offers sooo many nice dive sites and we were not sure where to go. But as it’s for sure not our last time diving in Egypt, we decided for the Makadi Bay this time and therefore the Extra Divers Makadi.
After we’ve decided for the Makadi Bay, we immediately knew that we’re going to stay in the LABRANDA Club Makadi Hotel. The reason therefore is simply that Tami was working at this time for a tour operator and got a discount for all LABRANDA hotels. Furthermore we always try not to spend much money on the hotel because we’re just sleeping and eating there.
But to be honest, this hotel really exceeded our expectations in price-performance ratio. Of course, if you spend more money, everything can be better and more luxurious. But what is really important, which is for us the food, the beach, the distance to the ocean and the view, was simply perfect!
Moreover we were really happy with the always friendly staff there as well as with the nice and huge swimming pool area.
We would always stay at the LABRANDA Club Makadi again, even if we don’t get a discount any more ;)
The Dive Center
The diving center of the Extra Divers Makadi is really beautiful, it’s located in the southern part of the Makadi Bay and is directly on the beach, just about 50 meters to the ocean. Furthermore there is a 250 meters long jetty from the beach to the house reef and their boats. And no worries, you don’t need to carry your heavy equipment on your own, the staff will carry it with a golf cart.
Some more facts to the diving center: The building itself is a round building with open top and seating areas inside and outside. For your personal small belongings they offer lockable compartments inside the main building and your equipment is (out of opening hours) locked in another small building. So everything’s securely stored.
Surface break on the housereef
The people behind the counter (mostly Germans) were always nice and helpful, as well as the Egyptians who are helping you with the equipment or giving you the tanks on the jetty for the house reef dive.
Our only negative point was one of the dive guides: We don’t want to misjudge anyone, but in our opinion, he were only doing the job for the money and not because he loves the underwater world. And we as a customer noticed that, because he didn´t show us any animals, just swam past a turtle and sometimes even gave us his buoy and stopped the dive before us.
One day everyone on the boat decided for exactly this boat trip because we wanted to drive to a special dive site. But because this dive site was too far away, the guide spontaneously decided to do another, closer dive site, which was of course very annoying for us.
That’s our personal, honest opinion, but it’s no reason to not visit this diving center, maybe he was just working there for this season or you don’t care about the dive guides anyway.
The House Reef of the Makadi Bay
On some days we just didn’t want to do boat trips, but then we were always diving on the house reef on our own – sometimes even three times a day. If you have more than 25 dives, you and your buddy are allowed to dive there without a guide.
The first dive with the Extra Divers Makadi is, as far as we know, always on the house reef with a dive guide. This way you don’t need to pay attention on the compass and get to know the reef structure. Navigating there on your own is very easy after just one dive. You get an underwater map with the reefs and the compass course but honestly we never used a compass there.
Your underwater map
Because between the reefs are markers like a metal frame or a ceramic vase. It’s really simple finding the way! Furthermore the max. depth we had at the house reef was 14 meters, so in case you get lost, just dive up slowly and remember to set a buoy, because there is some boat traffic in the bay.
The house reef itself is really beautiful, diverse, healthy and therefore also colorful and with lots of marine life. You can find the typical creatures like for example anemonefish, morays, parrot fish, surgeon fish, different kinds of puffer fish, butterfly fish, flute fish and triggerfish.
Furthermore there are lots of red lionfish, some blue-spotted rays and sometimes a crocodile fish. Unfortunately we haven’t seen turtles, eagle rays or seahorses, but if you’re lucky, you can also spot one of these.
The Boat Trips
The Extra Divers Makadi Bay offer short trips with one dive and half- and full day boat trips with two dives. The half day trips can be done in the morning and in the afternoon, which is pretty nice. Sometimes we made a half day trip in the morning, then went for lunch and afterwards did another dive on the house reef.
While the underwater creatures are (of course) nearly the same as on the house reef, the reefs, corals and altogether the underwater landscape is always different and really beautiful. So it’s definitely worth not only doing house reef dives!
Our highlight on one of our boat trips (which was to Torfa Abu Makadi): a TURTLE! My all-time favorite underwater animal! :)
Here’s definitely just one thing to say: Don’t matter which qualification level you have, you can always find a good dive site! The house reef for example is perfect for Open Water Divers because of its depth as well as some dive sites with the boat!
Overwater Experience for the Last Day
As we all know, the last day before the return flight is a non-diving day. One tip from us for your last experience in Egypt is doing a desert quad tour.
We were picked up at midday, drove by car into the desert and had some fun with the quads there. Afterwards they drove us to a “bedouin camp” (which was actually not a real one, more a bedouin aca touristic camp) and showed us a dance performance, how they’re doing bread, we got some tea and could have ridden a camel.
All in all the camp was not that interesting for us to be honest, but the view and the landscape around it was incredible.
In the evening we all sat on carpets on the sand floor under the stars and smoked shisha and afterwards had dinner with a belly dance performance.
Makadi Bay Resumé
In summary we had a really nice holiday in Egypt and experienced a lot, although it was an all inclusive holiday. We recommend every diver coming to Egypt at least once for seeing the underwater world there!
We’ll definitely travel to Egypt again because we want to do a liveaboard there (actually we already planned one for 2020, but it was cancelled) and we want to see some Egyptian wrecks next time, like the Salem Express.
If you have any questions about a diving holiday in Egypt or specifically the Makadi Bay, the LABRANDA Club Makadi or the Extra Divers Makadi Bay, just write it in the comments below or write us a message.